The Unit 9 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) lists the second Monday in October, typically referred to as Columbus Day, as one of the "observed holidays with pay". In February, the Legislature and the Governor enacted a change in the law, Government Code section 19853, which deleted the reference to that day as a holiday.
The Unit 9 MOU remained in effect through July 2, 2008. State law specifies that DPA and PECG "shall continue to give effect to the provisions of the expired Memorandum of Understanding". The MOU incorporates the Government Code section on holidays but states that if a provision of the MOU is in conflict with that code section, "such MOU provisions shall be controlling". The MOU, in Article 9, lists "the second Monday in October" as a holiday.
On September 25, the Department of Personnel Administration (DPA) posted a notice on their website that "Columbus Day is no longer a State holiday". It adds that an employee must "receive prior approval from the supervisor" and "use leave credit" in order to "take time off" on that day. Otherwise, "the absence will be considered absent without leave".
PECG believes that DPA is incorrect in their interpretation. As the grievance procedure, including arbitration by a neutral third party, continues in effect, PECG is filing a grievance with DPA. The MOU provides that employees can be required to work on holidays but those in Work Week Group 2 "shall receive one and one-half the hourly rate for all hours worked on the holiday" and those in Work Week Group E (such as Unit 9 Seniors) "shall receive up to eight hours of holiday credit and four hours of informal time off."
What should you do regarding working on Monday, October 12? A long-established rule in labor relations is - obey now, grieve later. This means that, in most circumstances, employees must obey directions from supervisors and managers and then obtain an appropriate remedy through the grievance procedure, which PECG is pursuing in this case.
Therefore, PECG recommends that you contact your Supervisor to determine if you are being ordered to work that day. If so, come to work and PECG will seek reimbursement through the grievance procedure. If you take the day off, management may charge you paid leave credits and PECG will pursue reinstatement of those credits through the grievance. However, it is important to obtain clear direction from your supervisor or manager regarding whether you are expected to be at work that day or not.
If you are a supervisor, what do you tell your employees to do? We recommend that you obtain clear direction from your supervisor or manager and then carry out those instructions.
These are difficult times with furloughs, holidays, overtime compensation, and many other topics in dispute between the Governor's Office, DPA, PECG, and other employee organizations. Resolution of such issues is typically long, slow, and difficult, as exemplified by several grievances and lawsuits by PECG which are working their way through the legal process. Be assured that we are doing everything we can to protect your job and obtain reimbursement for money which has been illegally withheld from you.